Bersih wants MPs to keep Ariff as Dewan Rakyat Speaker

PETALING JAYA: The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has urged MPs to block any move by the government to replace Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and Nga Kor Ming as the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat.

In a statement issued early today, Bersih also noted that the other Deputy Speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon, who is aligned to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, is not affected by the move.

It wants all MPs to vote against any motion to remove Ariff to enable him to continue with the reforms he has undertaken since his appointment in 2018.

Bersih described the move to remove a speaker in mid-term as “unprecedented”.

Muhyiddin had submitted the motion to remove Ariff and Nga on Friday afternoon, according to malaysiakini.

Bersih said that with the country still facing the Covid-19 crisis and a global recession, it cannot afford to have the Dewan Rakyat reduced to a mere “rubber stamp” of the Executive.

“We urged all MPs to rally behind Ariff to continue the unprecedented reforms that have taken place under his leadership,” the coalition said.

Among other things, Ariff’s tenure as Speaker has made way for the formation of 10 cross-party select committees that have oversight over policy and finance of the various ministries, appointment of an opposition MPs to chair the powerful Public Accounts Committee, and making parliament a more people-centric and friendly institution.

Bersih noted that more reforms are needed, such as the formation of an independent Parliamentary Service to ensure its staff are not answerable to the Executive, recognition of the opposition’s Shadow Cabinet to enable it to gain access to resources and government information, a weekly Prime Minister’s Questioning to ensure that the Chief Executive is personally answerable to the House, and special slots for non-governmental business and private members bills to enable the opposition and government backbenchers to play a more constructive role.

“In conjunction with our call to defend parliamentary reform, Bersih 2.0 calls on all Malaysians to support this call to retain Ariff as the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat by signing the online petition we initiated at,” it added.